Limitations of Using Excel as a PowerApps Data Source

Limitations of Using Excel as a PowerApps Data Source

Embarking on a project with Excel as a data source? It’s crucial to understand the challenges, especially in PowerApps. In this guide, we’ll delve into Excel PowerApps limitations and suggest solutions for seamless data integration.

Understanding Excel’s File Size Constraints

One primary concern with Excel in combination with PowerApps and OneDrive is the limitation on file size. Specifically, spreadsheets exceeding 2MB in size are not loaded by PowerApps. This restriction naturally limits the volume of records we can use in PowerApps.

Moreover, PowerApps introduces a unique identifier to every row with a column named __PowerAppsId__.
This addition can inadvertently inflate the file size, possibly pushing it beyond the 2MB limit even if the original spreadsheet was under that threshold.

Gallery’s Record Display Limitation

The gallery control, by default, showcases the initial 500 records.
This limit is defined by the data row limit for non-delegable queries, with the maximum limit set at 2000. Consequently, any attempt to access rows beyond this 2000-record ceiling will fail.

Challenges with Gallery and Search Functionality

This 2000 record limitation affects both gallery views and search functions. As a result, accessing and searching records beyond this limit becomes problematic. For instance, while you might be able to find a record with ID 2000, the subsequent record might be inaccessible.

Function Limitations in PowerApps

Utilizing functions like Filter and LookUp to retrieve records beyond the 2000 threshold proves ineffective. Even numeric filtering faces issues, particularly when PowerApps mistakenly reads numeric columns as text.

Limitations in Editing Records

Editing records beyond the 2000 mark also presents challenges. Functions such as Patch and UpdateIf require the specific record for modification, but the retrieval limitation hinders this process.

Aggregate Function Constraints

Aggregate functions, too, operate only on the initial 2000 records, rendering them ineffective for accurate data summaries, such as sum totals or specific record counts.

Workarounds and Considerations

While the typical remedy with SharePoint data sources involves loading all records into a local collection using the ForAll function, this approach is not viable with Excel due to the mentioned retrieval limitation.

If updating the Excel data source isn’t a requirement, one can opt to import the data directly into the app. However, it’s crucial to remember that this method can only incorporate a maximum of 15,000 records. For larger datasets, splitting the Excel file and importing the data as multiple sources becomes necessary.


While Excel offers simplicity and familiarity as a data source, it might not be the ideal choice for large datasets in platforms like PowerApps. The constraints in data retrieval, function application, and data modification can hinder the seamless functioning of your apps. For extensive datasets, considering alternative data sources like SQL Server, SharePoint, or CDS is advisable.

If you’re encountering challenges or need guidance on this topic or any other technical matter, feel free to contact us. Our team is here to assist and provide the expertise you require.

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